• You Won’t Believe How Much New York Spends To Have Bad Schools

    Newly-released data in the state of New York indicates that last year the state spent a staggering $21,812 per pupil on the state’s roughly three million K-12 students. That’s the highest figure in the country, but the state doesn’t have much to show for it.

    The figure was calculated by the New York State Association of School Business Officials for its report, “The Education Dollar,” detailing ongoing trends in state school spending. The organization found that the state spend over $60 billion during the 2013-2014 school year, for an average of $21,812 for each pupil. Funding was mostly supplied by local governments, which spent $11,888 per pupil, and the state government, which spent $9,026 per pupil. The federal government supplied the rest.

    That level of spending isn’t just above the national average, it’s way, way ahead. According to the Census Bureau, the most recent national average for per-pupil spending was $10,700, and the lowest state, Utah, got by with $6,555.

    Notably, while spending is growing quickly all over, one of the biggest drivers of higher costs isn’t materials or teacher salaries. Instead, it’s the staggering expense of teacher retirement benefits, which has grown by 181 percent in the past decade. The cost of health benefits is also tremendous, having grown over 70 percent in a decade.

    So what is New York getting for all that spending? Not terribly much. The average SAT score of college-bound seniors in the state is several points below the national average. On the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), a national standardized test used by the federal government to compare states, New York finishes about in the middle for both reading and math. The high school graduation rate of about 77 percent is also below the national average (and significantly behind low-spending Utah).

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